Yoga has been a part of human history for centuries. This spiritual art has transitioned from being a spiritual exercise accessible only to a few into a global phenomenon. With time, numerous yoga styles have come into being, one of these is the Kriya yoga. Kriya yoga helps you develop on a spiritual level and form a close connection with the divine.
Kriya yoga is a simple practice that was taught earlier by yoga gurus. This yoga style is the practice of increasing your consciousness about yourself and the universe. Moreover, this yoga style is an ancient meditation technique that focuses much on energy and breath control.
To help you understand more about this yoga style, yoga experts have come up with a small guide on Kriya yoga. Let us first understand a bit about this yoga style’s history and origins.
Before you know what is Kriya yoga, you must first know about the history and origins of this powerful yoga style.
The technique of Kriya yoga was a secret for many centuries. It was revived in 1861 by Mahavtar Babaji who taught this yoga style to his disciple, Lahiri Mahasaya. From Lahiri Mahasaya, the knowledge of Kriya yoga was passed on to his disciple, Sri Yukteshwar.
Sri Yukteshwar later taught Kriya to Paramhansa Yogananda. Later, Paramhansa published a book named Autobiography of a Yogi which contains the teachings of this ancient yoga style.
Well! That is about the history and origin of the sacred art of Kriya yoga. Before we move ahead, there are a few things you should know about Kriya yoga.
Currently, Kriya yoga has gathered quite a fan base around the world. Millions are choosing this yoga style to clear their mind, and shift their energy from the negative to positive.
With that said, if you are a beginner, there are five things you should know about Kriya yoga style.
With this, yoga experts want you to understand that Kriya yoga can be breathing, mantra, repetitive body movement or a combination of all. Every Kriya done in this yoga style has a different purpose, some are a bit calming while others energize you. In short, Kriya yoga can be many things at once.
The word Kriya means “to expand one’s energy” and it includes the techniques to help expand your spiritual energy. The word Kriya comes from the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world and also the language in which the Vedas were written. Thus, this yoga style helps expand your consciousness to another level.
Some Kriyas take a short time to give you the effects, there are also some you might have to practice for longer time to feel the impact. The reason behind the delay is you create new neural pathways in the brain which takes some time.
In other words, you are reprogramming yourself and creating a new habit pathway within your mind. It is what makes Kriya yoga an extremely powerful yoga style.
You should know that Kriya yoga would feel a bit weird at first. This weird thing occurs as a result of you having an unusual experience. It is how you expand your consciousness and step into the unknown. However, this yoga style definitely helps you dive deeper into the spiritual aspects of your being.
It is completely normal for you to practice one or two Kriya’s into your daily routine for a minimum of 40 days. The reason behind doing them for 40 days is that is the time it takes for you to inculcate a new habit. It is how Kriya yoga brings about a change in you on a deeper level.
Do you want to know how Kriya yoga works its magic? Let us now find out how this yoga style works.
As per yogic traditions, Kriya yoga helps you achieve union with the divine. As per Paramhansa Yogananda, it is the easiest yoga style to attain this goal as it focuses on increasing your spiritual energy.
The art of Kriya yoga is the only one that directly activates the energy in your spine. You learn to control the sacred life energy, and draw it up the spine. In the long run, practice of Kriya yoga improves your awareness and self-control. A simple practice of 30 minutes every day is enough for you to experience spiritual growth.
Let us now look at how you can practice Kriya yoga.
Before you commit to a Kriya yoga practice, you have to complete a preparation process. The time frame of this process varies from one individual to the next. Let us now check out the process of Kriya yoga as given by yoga experts;
Steps To Kriya Yoga
Given below are the steps to Kriya yoga in a chronological order.
Do you know the numerous health benefits that Kriya Yoga offers? Yoga experts have come up with some pretty amazing benefits of practicing this yoga style.
The Kriya yoga style has numerous health benefits linked with it. There are scientific and medical studies that prove how beneficial daily practice of Kriya yoga can be.
Taking into consideration the last statement, given below are three major health benefits of this yoga style.
Kriya yoga has shown some great results when it comes to dealing with depression. Breathing exercises you do in Kriya yoga provide your mind a calming and stimulating effect. It is why a single session of Kriya yoga is quite beneficial for those with depression.
The daily practice of Kriya yoga under a highly skilled yoga teacher reduces stress and improves your pain tolerance level. With daily practice, you develop a better stress threshold in comparison to those taking medications. It is an excellent yoga style to help you get through a phase of extreme physical and mental pressure of life.
Time and again, research has shown that Kriya yoga works to bring down Hypertension. It has been shown that daily Kriya yoga practice reduces the diastolic blood pressure, and plasma MDA which is known for inducing oxidative stress.
Moreover, doing Kriya yoga meditation daily keeps your blood pressure levels completely normal. This makes Kriya a much better alternative to taking medications.
However, there are some who think of Kriya yoga as a religious practice. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We will let yoga experts answer that.
Not at all! Kriya yoga is far older than any organized religion. Moreover, the practice of Kriya yoga is for everyone despite their religious beliefs or faith. The majority of yoga practitioners learn this style to connect better with their spiritual side.
The word Kriya can be defined as an action that leads to evolution or liberation. This is exactly what this yoga style does – it liberates you from the endless chatter of the mind and burdens of your body. Kriya yoga is an excellent way to get rid of the ego trap. This helps you create a genuine connection with god.
Another question that often comes from beginner Kriya yoga practitioners is – Is Kriya Yoga A Form Of Meditation? Let the yoga gurus answer.
Yes! Kriya yoga is a system of different meditation techniques (Kundalini meditation and Vipassana meditation)which are primarily based on conscious breathing. This yoga style works with your consciousness and the sacred Prana energy. The meditative aspect of Kriya yoga is based on deep control over the functioning of your psyche, emotional states, and mind through numerous concentration exercises.
The main objective of concentration in Kriya yoga is accomplished using internal sensations, and imagery. At times, the subject of meditation can also include a philosophical aspect of Kriya yoga. You can utilize external sources like a candle, statue of deity, or a mystical symbol to dive deeper into meditation.
However, before you kickstart the Kriya yoga practice, there are a few precautions you should follow.
Have you heard about the 6 Kriyas or the cleaning techniques known as Shatkriyas? Read further to know what these are.
The daily practice of Shatkriyas cleanses your internal organs which lets the sacred pranic energy flow between the Ida and Pingala Nadis. Maintaining a balance helps you attain supreme mental and physical purification and balance in your Kriya yoga practice.
With that said, given below are the six different Kriyas which can help you deepen the Kriya yoga practice.
The word Kapalbhati is divided into two parts, Kapala means skull and Bhati means shine. This Pranayama technique in Kriya Yoga purifies the frontal region of your brain and cleanses the respiratory system.
This is the exercise that requires you to fix your gaze on an object without blinking. Trataka activates the tear glands, which purifies your visual system. Daily practice of this Kriya improves your eyesight and concentration levels.
Neti is a Kriya yoga technique for clearing your nostrils. There are a total of 4 Neti purification techniques where you use different liquids like water, milk, ghee, or a waxed thread to clean and clear the nasal passage. This keeps you away from irregular breathing and other nasal ailments.
If you want a Kriya to clear the intestines, do the Dhouti Kriya. There are three Dhouti Kriyas each of which helps relieve you of gastric issues, asthma, and acidity.
Nauli Kriya purifies and strengthens all the vital internal organs in your body. There is Agnisara and Uddiyana Kriya which help you prepare for the three Nauli Kriyas. These Kriyas relieve constipation and activate the function of your liver, spleen, and other organs. For more, enroll in a certified yoga school to learn everything about Kriya yoga and its various elements.
The Vasti Kriya is the act of cleaning the rectum and is a great yogic exercise to clean the colon. You should learn these Kriya only from a highly experienced and yoga alliance certified teacher.
Apart from these six Kriyas, the Kriya yoga also has some awesome poses to help you connect with the divine being. Let us find out what these are.
There it is! The complete guide to help you understand Kriya yoga and learn this fine yoga style to connect with the divine.
Also Read: Yoga Bandhas
Although the technique of Kriya yoga was revived in 1861 by Mahavtar Babaji, it still holds a great place in today’s world. This yoga style contains all the elements of a scientific method that is like a working hypothesis. As a learner of this ancient yogic style you have to be sincere and regular to reap all the wonderful benefits. In other words, the path that brings you closer to the divine is Kriya yoga.